“I chose to never leave the Garment District. New York Embroidery’s home will always be here.”Michelle FeinbergOwner & Creative Director
“I chose to never leave the Garment District. New York Embroidery’s home will always be here.”
As a young and ambitious 17 year old, Michelle Feinberg moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Eager and motivated to learn as much as she could, she started simultaneously looking for manufacturing internships in the Garment District, and was hired by Manhattan Scalloping, a leading embellishment factory. She quickly fell in love with embellishments and embroidery, ended up working there until she graduated, and then joined a private label company as a loungewear and lingerie designer. That same year, Manhattan Scalloping went out of business and was purchased by Mona Slide Fasteners, which Michelle decided to join. She became a partner at the firm before age 21 despite her somewhat limited experience, as she was recognized as the right person for the job.
Ten years later, the future felt uncertain post 9/11, and Mona Slide Fasteners decided to move its operations to the Bronx. Convinced that the future of fashion manufacturing was in the Garment District, Michelle decided to part ways with the company and started New York Embroidery Studio (NYES) that same year. She believed back then what she does today — that her business would remain in the heart of the district for as long as she would be running it.
“Technology makes us special.
New York Embroidery Studio was created to help designers achieve their creative visions. Michelle thinks of her company as an art-based studio capable of providing a full range of services, including embroidery and embellishments, fabric printing, pleating, laser cutting, punch on, hand sewing, trimming, 3D printing and much more. New York Embroidery Studio harvests creative energy and acts as the perfect partner for innovative designers looking to challenge industry standards. The studio is also equipped with a large array of modern and old-school equipment, so as to help bring visions to life.
Technology lies at the heart of New York Embroidery Studio. Michelle’s love for technology has allowed the business to expand its service offerings, as well as adopt more sustainable practices. Most recently, the company has installed a new machine that prints embroidery threads; this allows printing threads of every color instead of having to purchase them, thereby helping avoid unnecessary waste.
New York Embroidery Studio works with designers of all sizes and has worked hard to earn its reputation as a leader in the field. Michelle works with emerging designers as well as some of the greatest names – Thom Browne, Alexander Wang, Tory Burch – ever since they got started in the industry. She has seen them grow from startups to world-famous high-fashion brands, and is grateful and proud that designers have remained loyal to NYES, as they have moved forward in their careers; as an example, it’s after a designer who previously worked on the Marc Jacobs line with Michelle joined Coach, that she added Coach to her ever-growing client roster.
“New York Embroidery Studio pivoted at the start of COVID to produce 2 million gowns a week.”
Michelle has never been scared of change, addressing new challenges head-on. When production began to steadily move overseas, she jumped on the opportunity to visit large Chinese factories and learn about how to scale her manufacturing processes. She had never really experienced large scale production and knew that there was a lot to be learned from it; she came back home and immediately applied these learnings, starting to mass produce embroidery designs and 80s sequins – intricate details that usually take time to replicate.
With COVID-19 came a new set of challenges, including a dangerous shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Thanks to Michelle’s leadership, New York Embroidery Studio was able to completely pivot its production and address the City’s needs. In March of 2020, the company began to work with the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to make gowns and masks: NYCEDC helped NYES procure the necessary fabric, and Michelle’s team successfully manufactured the highest quality Personal Protective Equipment. In addition, with New York Embroidery Studio being one of the first to pivot into large scale PPE production, many hospitals and government agencies started reaching out and orders began to grow exponentially, with the company producing 2 million gowns and masks each week. More and more business started to flow in, as NYES had the knowledge and experience to both win large-scale contracts and take over underperforming ones. PPE production helped alleviate a critical need, while also retaining and creating hundreds of important jobs.
“We need to educate students on the value of ‘Made in the USA’.”
New York Embroidery Studio recently relocated its operations to a new space in the Garment District that is better suited for its operations and continued growth. Michelle spent significant time and energy designing the space, as she wanted to create a new and comfortable studio for her cherished team of 30 years. She is very excited about the future and sincerely hopes that domestic production will get the attention it deserves. In her opinion, foundational changes need to take place around education: as a design student, she recalls witnessing firsthand teachers showing students how to create tech packs and send them overseas to be produced. Instead, the next generation of designers needs to learn how to leverage the various production resources that are located in the heart of New York City.
As for New York Embroidery Studio, it will continue to proudly market itself as Made in NYC and hopes to dive deeper into sustainable practices. Michelle clearly sees the value in circular fashion — using recycled fabrics and repurposing them by adding sticking, sequins, overdye, etc. Besides, sustainability may be a strong differentiator in promoting domestic manufacturing.